We have a saying at Kaju AZ: the way you train is the way you fight. Makes sense, right? You train hard, you will fight hard. You train to survive, you will survive.
Our beloved Professor Kelly often tells parents “We will hit your kids.” Any one who knows us understands we mean this in the best way possible. I always love seeing the reaction he often receives as he says that.
NO, we don’t smack students upside the head as they walk in the door. NO, we don’t sneak up behind them and smack them when they least suspect it (although this is what bullies do). It’s a process.
We are hard on our students more so than most other martial arts. The founders of Kajukenbo understood that you cannot hit properly without knowing what a hit feels like. They knew that you cannot push back if you aren’t pushed hard. The art was designed to make us comfortable getting hit.
I’ve had great instructors so I’ve been hit at the dojo many times. It doesn’t feel good.
The first few times it was shocking. My eyes watered, there was a little blood in my mouth, my ears rang, and I had an echo in my head. I was shook up.
But I did not go into the fetal position. I did not start crying although I might have wanted to. I did not give up and quit.
I went back to training. And I got hit again. And again. And again. I also have gotten squeezed, choked, punched, arm-barred, kneed, kicked, smashed, smothered and hit again. Many times.
The more it happens, the easier it becomes for me to shake it off, stand my ground and keep fighting.
The way I fight out there all comes down to the way I train in here. So I train hard. We all do at Kaju AZ. Sometimes it isn’t easy to see as evidenced by the gasps or covering of eyes from our spectators. And all the times, it’s not easy to feel but I am grateful.
Because on the chance that I get hit out on the street, out in the real world, I know I will NOT go into the fetal position. I will NOT start crying. I will NOT give up.
The way I train is definitely the way I fight.